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Published: Tuesday, 6/24/2014

Port Clinton group submits petitions opposing development at a city park


A Port Clinton group opposed to major development at a city park bordering Lake Erie and the Portage River submitted petitions today to put a measure on the November ballot that seeks to require a public vote before the city can sell or lease park property.

Citizens Organized for Responsible Development member Rick Noderer said the group submitted an initiative petition with 280 signatures, about 100 more than required to put the measure before voters in November.

If placed on the ballot and approved by voters, the ordinance would require the approval of voters at a general election before the city could sell or lease city park land.

The effort stems from the group’s opposition to a proposed $66 million development of Water Works Park, a project city officials are currently negotiating with developer Washington Properties of Medina, Ohio.

The mixed-use development would be built on about two of the park’s almost 14 acres and would feature residential units, retail shops, and a lodge. The developer asked for about $6 million in public support for the project, in addition to $60 million in private investment.

City officials continue to negotiate details of the proposed deal.

Mr. Noderer said the CORD group wants to give citizens a chance to vote on this and similar projects.

“It’s the right to vote, and this also then gives the citizens the process to approve a specific project if they like a specific project,” he said.

City Auditor Cole Hatfield received the petition signatures today and after 10 days, as specified by Ohio law, will forward a copy to the Ottawa County Board of Elections for signature verification.

To place an ordinance proposal on the ballot requires signatures from 10 percent of the voters who cast ballots for governor at the most recent general election. In this case, that number would be about 175 signatures, Mr. Hatfield said.

Port Clinton Mayor Vincent Leone and council President Linda Hartlaub could not be reached for immediate comment.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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